Joel Judge's Reviews > 1Q84

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
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Dec 27, 11

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Read from November 19 to December 25, 2011

My first foray into the magical literary world of Haruki Murakami. 1Q84 is like no book I have read before. This is a book for which neatly classifying the genre proved somewhat problematic. Is it a romance, urban fantasy, mystery or science fiction? The novel, epic in length, and sold as three separate books in Murakami's native Japan, contains beautifully crafted prose which is both lyrical and meandering in nature. Nothing happens quickly in this novel.

The story, which is just down right weird, is a simple tale of a brief intense love which has been lost, but never forgotten. Mysteriously transported to a Tokyo with two Moons, Aomame the heroine of the story, is an attractive Personal Trainer who in her spare time just so happens to assassinate men who have physically and mentally abused women. She performs this public service for a wealthy elderly business lady, the Dowager... She carries out these murders, not for personal gain, but rather out of a sense of justice. How or why she has ended up in this strange world with two moons, she dubs 1Q84, is a mystery never fully explained. This world is much the same as the one she has left expect now their are two moons. For her final liquidation job she is tasked with killing a religious cult leader who has been sexually abusing young girls. Without giving too much away, it is during this job that she is informed that she will one day meet her lost love again.

Tengo, the object of Aomame's affection, has also spent much of his adult life thinking of Aomame with whom he briefly attended school as a child. Tengo is an exceptionally bright man who was a child prodigy, brilliant at maths but also good at sports and all academic subjects. As an adult he teaches maths at a cram school but yearns to be a writer. His opportunity finally comes when asked to rewrite Fuka Eri's novella - Air Chrysalis. Fuka Eri is a teenage first time author. She is strangely remote and appears ambivalent to the prospect of having Air Chrysalis re-written and entered into a prestigious literary competition. In reluctantly agreeing to rewrite Air Chrysalis, Tengo is unaware of the chain of events this undertaking will manifest.

The book has strong elements of fantasy, introduced through Air Chrysalis, for unbeknownst to Tengo, Air Chryslis is more fact than fiction. The book tells of little people, a world with two moons and introduces the concept of a perceiver and a receiver through whom the little people communicate. Who are the little people, what is there purpose and what do they want is never really made clear. The true focus of the book is the effort to reunite Aomame and Tengo. Will they meet and love conquer all or will their irresistible desire to be together result in a tragic ending for both?

Overall I did enjoy this book but felt that Aomame's and Tengo's quest to be reunited was drawn out a tad too long.
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